Diversity Awareness Training and Facilitation

With Bill Say, M.A.
One goal of diversity awareness is community--community that works to create a better world and community where everyone is more or less comfortable.
Diversity awareness is intimately connected to sustainability, deeper levels of democracy and health. If we are to create a sustainable world, then a greater awareness of diversity will necessarily be a part of that solution.
There are many reasons why groups seek out diversity awareness work. A group may have chronic tensions or polarized conflicts. The group atmosphere might be less than welcoming for all. A business or organization may want to better understand and connect to its client base or community. A group may want to better attract, retain and utilize diverse talent. Or an organization may be striving for a deeper level of inclusivity, which may involve diverse people, perspectives, styles and ideas.
I see that we as people simply struggle with our human differences. There are times we can barely tolerate others! Yet we communicate, relate, and work so much better with each other when we learn diversity awareness. Diversity awareness includes practices that are quite simple. Speaking to one another across differences helps us learn about each other in vital ways. “Getting into the shoes” of an other is one example of a tool that enhances understanding and reduces polarization. Role awareness work makes diversity work less personal, safer and practical. Rank awareness addresses crucial power dynamics to enhance communication, relationships and team efforts. We can go beyond tolerating differences to seeing how our human differences are a source of creativity, understanding, dynamism and greater community.  

Diversity awareness training and facilitation addresses the problems related to our human differences such as tension, communication problems, blocks to team work, conflicts, marginalization, bias, inequity, power and rank issues. The work also addresses the resources and community building potentials embedded within our human diversity. Worldwide, many companies have undertaken diversity for two important reasons. Social justice is the movement towards greater equity and inclusion; and there is the "business argument"for diversity which suggests that diversity awareness helps with team, organizational and business efficacy. I support both movements and how they can work together.
My consulting and training experience is with non-profits including the Highlander Center, HEPPAC, SEEDS, and BUILD; health and mental health organizations such as Contra Costa County Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Pacific Center; educational institutions such as UC Berkeley College of Engineering and Computer Science, UCS/Naropa University, and Core Energetics Institutes; public sector groups such as the Alameda County Administrator’s Office and Public Health; and international groups including United Nations refugee health organizations (UNRWA) and the UN Refugee Women's College in Palestine, Independent Thought and Social Action in India, and corporate manager trainings in China.
My diversity training is based upon the Process Work of Arnold Mindell, a multi-disciplinary approach to individual, group, and collective change. One of Process Work's main philosophies is Deep Democracy, the idea that all people, perspectives, and parts are needed for sustainable solutions.
Common training outcomes include:
Resolved tensions
Better teamwork
Enhanced connection and communication
Greater leadership awareness with regard to power
More welcoming environments
"Bill Say...who I've worked with in the past in holding public forums in Richmond on important issues to the community.  He is an incredible, dedicated, and sensitive facilitator, and I was excited to have him facilitate a couple of workshops/public forums in the city when I was mayor."
Gayle McLaughlin
Richmond Councilmember

"…Bill's use of the Process Work gave the group a framework for engaging in rarely held conversations about racial pain. Bill Say's work with Highlander advanced the context for racial healing…"
Ron Davis
Racial Healing and Equity Coordinator Highlander Center

"…Without exception, people find him to be engaging, motivating, and sensitive to the different styles of learning that people utilize in the work place...Not only is he grounded and mindful in his own communication, he embodies a deep understanding of the issues that are inherent to a workplace that is diverse on a number of levels…"
Louise Monsour
Director of Clinical Training Pacific Center Berkeley, CA
Contact me for a free phone consultation.